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review 2020-06-01 14:19
The Handmaids Tale
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

by Margaret Atwood


My first impression of this book was that it reminded me of Anne Frank's diary, writing in journal form about an oppressive situation in which the person writing must survive. Considering it was first released in 1985, the present tense writing that continued caught me off guard. It was unusual before the self-pub explosion in 2010.


The tale shows a future society where the freedoms we take for granted have been removed and women in particular are assigned roles and expected to conform to them, including providing babies for couples in more privileged positions but unable to produce their own. Citizens spy on each other and dissention makes people disappear.


We are never given the main character's real name because women are referred to by their captain's name; Offred, Ofwarren, etc. She has flashbacks to how life was 'before' that identify this as a society that took over what we would recognise as modern Western life. She misses a lover whose fate she does not know and a child they had together who was taken from her. There is occasional mention of a war, but details are slow to be revealed.


I found the story continually depressing. Obviously the whole point is that no one would want to live in such an oppressive world and it was interesting to see how some women managed to adapt, though many didn't. The change is still first generation and those in charge insist the next generation will find the new society perfectly natural, as they've never known anything else.


I saw some parallels with American black slavery in that children were taken away from parents with no sympathy for the mother's sense of loss. Also in that deviating from what was considered accepted behaviour resulted in physical punishment or even death.


What I found most interesting is that the men weren't enjoying the restrictions on themselves either. Human nature was never meant to be regimented.


I found the ending... tedious. An attempt by the author to be clever that fell flat and some essential unanswered questions. I'm glad I've read this now, but even more glad that I don't have to read it again.

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text 2020-04-03 06:32
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood

Wow, towards the end I really got slapped on the head by the feminist message of this book. And I´m afraid, I didn´t like it. And the chorus parts with the maids and the allusions to modern day times throughout this book really annoyed me.


So in short, this book clearly didn´t work for me.



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review 2020-03-24 15:40
The Door - Margaret Atwood

Some of the poems are absolutely lovely - like the Owl and the Pussycoat homage or the poem about Joan of Arc. Some, quite frankly, could have been shorter.

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text 2020-03-01 13:36
Alias Grace
Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood

Nachdem ich strickenderweise meiner Netflix Sucht verfallen bin und Alias Grace inhaliert habe, hatte ich nicht übel Lust das Buch noch einmal zu lesen. Ich konnte mich zwar an manche Dinge erinnern, aber da mein Gedächtnis die Beschaffenheit eines Siebes hat, gab es viel "neu" zu entdecken. Außerdem habe ich das Buch als Kind aus dem Bücherregal meiner Eltern gemopst und schau einer guck, es macht tatsächlich einen Unterschied wie alt man bei der Lektüre ist. Ich bin mir ziemlich sicher, dass mir Passagen dieser Art vollkommen entgangen sind: 

He was very annoyed, and said I must stop at once, or he would slap my face for me; but he did not. What I had said had cooled his ardour, as they say in the books; or as Mary Whitney would say, he'd mislaid his poker. For at that moment Mr. Kinnear, dead as he was, was the stiffer man of the two of them. p.331


Abgesehen von wenigen, etwas langatmigeren Stellen, mochte ich das Buch gerne. Es gefällt mir, dass wir die Geschichte hauptsächlich aus Grace Perspektive hören, die definitiv nicht auf den Kopf gefallen ist. Allerdings lässt sich Atwood am Anfang sehr viel Zeit die Geschehnisse darzustellen, was das Ende des Buches sehr abrupt kommen lässt. Jeremiah the Peddler ist einer meiner liebsten Charakter, da bodenständig und mit seinen Ansichten sehr ehrlich bzw. klar obwohl er genau das Gegenteil zu seinem Beruf macht. Aber leider erfahren wir am Ende nicht mehr sehr viel über seine Beweggründe. Vom eigentlichen Geschehen unabhängig auch schön einen Blick hinter die Kulissen des Lebens zu erhalten - nebst Haushalttipps von Grace... 


Die Moral die Grace aus der Geschichte zieht, finde ich sehr aktuell.  

It is not the culprits who need to be forgiven; rather the victims, because they are the ones who cause all the trouble. If they were only less weak and careless, and more foresightful, and if they would keep from blundering into difficulties, thinks of all the sorrow in the world that would be spared. p.457


Das hört man ja leider immer noch zu oft, dass nicht der Täter, sondern das Opfer Schuld ist an seinen Missständen. Frei nach dem Motto: "Hättest du mal aufgepasst, dann wäre dir das auch nicht passiert.". Wie furchtbar, das ist doch keine Rechtfertigung!

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text 2019-12-27 06:16
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

After reading The Handmaid's Tale, I can perceive any reason why this tragic exemplary has established such a connection on such a significant number of. This is a book that unquestionably hangs with you, frequenting your musings, long after you finish the book. It is provocative and frightening.

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